Sometimes it is hard to get going. Like a battery left too long inactive in the cold, we can’t get started on what we need to do.
Everyone has their methods of getting started on a task.
Here are my five favorite:
#1: Use A Timer
For some reason, if I tell myself I only have to work on something for 15 minutes, and then I can go play, I get started and keep going. In order to do this, I use my trusty timer. Watching the clock doesn’t have the same effect as a timer for me. There are very few times where I truly want to stop after 15 minutes, but if I want to, I can.
#2: Use A Varied-Task Method
When I know I need to slog through a bunch of stuff, I use the (10+2)*5 method from 43 Folders. Using PDoan, I do 10 minutes on task, 2 minutes off, with 5 repetitions. I can get through a lot of stuff knowing I get 2 minute breaks to do anything I want.
#3: Shut Down Distractions
I am very distractable. If my task at hand involves the computer, I shut down distractions. If I am writing, I will generally use PageFour in full screen mode. If I am researching something, I use LeechBlock to block unwanted sites (like mail or RSS). I have even undocked and turned of WiFi when necessary.
#4: Use Batch Files
I am amazed at how well this trick works. I have set up batch files to bring up all the applications I need to perform certain tasks. With just those applications open, I crank through my work quickly. Monday night system maintenance, which used to take two hours, is now done in about twenty minutes.
When all else fails, promising myself a trip to Starbucks will get me to start just about anything I have been procrastinating on.
Photo by Josh Rothman